Construction along the corner of Green St., is ugly, especially during the winter months. But from the sexy, warm atmosphere inside of Karyn's on Green, located at 130 S. Green St., restaurant patrons could never tell the difference if not for a glance through the glass windows.
The lighting is dim. Candles are lit. There's a glowing gold fountain near the front entrance door, and beautiful plants line the middle area of one part of the restaurant from another. Want a little privacy? Ask to be seated behind those plants. Want to be front and center? Enjoy the R&B music pumping through the speakers with everything from The Temptations to the Staple Singers to Marvin Gaye.
Parents walk in with small children. Couples stroll in behind them. And girlfriends have "girls night out" all sitting next to each other, but even with all of the activity, Karyn's on Green is still a pretty peaceful and warm location.
A long bar lines a wall with televisions protruding from the corners, showing the news, television shows and sports games. Maybe it's the music playing that takes away the sports bar vibe that Karyn's Cooked has. It could be the elegant silverware and table decor that resembles that of Karyn's Bistro. Something about this place screams "fancy" without trying too hard. And the food is incredible, including the addictive vegan butter and bread served to each table before orders are placed.
Chosen foods for this review were:
- "Crab" Slider (pickled red onion, frisee, caper tartar, sweet onion-fennel jam) appetizer
- "Chicken" wings (crunchy battered with BBQ sauce) appetizer
- Whiskey Sour (St. George "Breaking & Entering" Bourbon Whiskey)
- BBQ seitan (Mushroom sage cornbread stuffing, seared collard greens, seitan)
- Chocolate-pecan raw pie w/raw chocolate ice cream
- Chocolate cake (warm) w/vanilla ice cream
For vegans who are battling with being a pescatarian, the "Crab" Slider is proof that it's possible to get as close to eating seafood without animal products. Although the sandwich is easy to devour without the sweet onion-fennel jam, that condiment makes the appetizer that much better.
Vegan chicken wings from restaurants fail as often as they succeed. Some just taste like battered bread. Others are a little too chewy. Karyn's on Green wins with the right amount of crunch with the correct amount of texture. Close your eyes and you'll probably believe they're really chicken strips. BBQ Seitan is always a winning dish for vegans who want to try a spicy barbecue option, but the mushroom sage cornbread stuffing and collard greens outshine this dinner dish.
The bartender gets a stamp of approval for the admirable balance of sour and strong in the Whiskey Sour. The vegan vanilla ice cream is a tasty dessert, too.
The only con for the meal was the chocolate-pecan raw pie was too dry. Luckily since the warm gooey chocolate cake was also ordered, a swap was made and all were happy. Nut lovers may be bigger fans of the pie, but for dark chocolate lovers, the chocolate cake is the way to go.
It'd be very difficult to find anything to complain about with this restaurant minus having to finally leave when the meal was over. Chances are sky high that there will be a return visit.
Follow Shamontiel on Pinterest for all her latest Chicago vegetarian entries, or subscribe to her Chicago Vegetarian channel at the top of this page. Also, follow her "Diet & Exercise" and "Vegetarian World" Pinterest boards. She's on Twitter @BlackHealthNews.